03/27/12 7:13 PM ET
Carlyle learning how to pitch with diabetes
By David Villavicencio / Special to MLB.com
He has bigger obstacles to deal with, like performing at a high level while being a diabetic.
"I found out I was diabetic in '09 and went to Japan in 2010," Carlyle said. "Last year, I was with the Yankees for a little while. It took me a while to get all my weight back. Now for the first time I feel like I have everything with me again."
Carlyle, who is in Minor League camp with the Braves, has pitched in parts of seven big league seasons since 1999. He has been with seven different Major League organizations and two teams in Japan. Discovering and then dealing with his diabetes has been an additional obstacle in his path toward a return to the Majors.
"It's become part of my life," Carlyle said. "It's been almost three years now. The first couple of years, it's tough, because you don't really know what you want your blood sugar to be at when you're pitching. You kind of have to start your day three or four hours before the game and [figure out] how you're going to regulate your blood sugar." Carlyle wears the OmniPod, a wireless pump that helps him maintain his blood sugar level. Before he started using the pump, Carlyle struggled with getting his blood sugar where it needed to be and then maintaining that level throughout a game.
"With the pump, I usually turn it off during the game, but I am able to understand what I need to eat before the game," Carlyle said. "Before I would take insulin and then eat and it would run low. Then I'd have to drink a Gatorade and it would jump back up. Now I understand how to keep it at an even plateau. It's gotten easier."
Carlyle turned in his best season in 2008 when he posted a 3.59 ERA in 62 2/3 innings out of the Braves' bullpen. He is thrilled to be back in the organization and hopes to get back to the big leagues with Atlanta.
"It's nice to be back here with the Braves uniform," Carlyle said. "I was gone for a couple of years. I live there now and my kids are huge fans of the Braves, so it's nice to put the uniform on again."
The 34-year-old started on Tuesday against the Mets and allowed two runs over four innings. He will probably head to Triple-A Gwinnett at the end of the spring and wait for the Braves to give him an opportunity in the Majors.
That's the goal," Carlyle said. "The reason you're still playing is because you think you can still pitch in the big leagues. You try to show the guys that you can throw, and if they need you, you're available. You just want to show them that it's an option if they ever need it."
Wilson happy to make Grapefruit debut
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Jack Wilson went hitless on Tuesday, but that did not mean much to the veteran infielder.
For Wilson, it was just a big step to be able to play in a Grapefruit League game. The 34-year-old had been out all spring with a calf injury before he started at second base against the Mets at Digital Domain Park.
"It's feeling good," Wilson said. "Any time you can get out there healthy and ready to play is good. I've been sitting on the training room table for the last five weeks or so just champing at the bit. You don't really feel part of the team, so it's nice to get back out here and get time on the field to get ready for the season."
Wilson has played the last few days in Minor League games but had not played with his big league teammates until Tuesday's game. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez is happy to have Wilson back in action.
"He's been great," Gonzalez said. "He's been bouncing around and running the bases. I think he played seven innings yesterday. We'll try to get him six or seven innings at second and keep progressing."
An All-Star in 2004, Wilson has been known throughout his 11-year career as an excellent defender. He is expected to see time at second base, shortstop and third base.
"He still has a lot left in the tank, especially defensively," Gonzalez said. "I don't think he's a guy that is a part-time player. I think he can play every day in the big leagues."
The Braves expect to have rookies Tyler Pastornicky or Andrelton Simmons as their starting shortstop, but Wilson gives them a veteran option that Gonzalez values.
"We're lucky to have him," Gonzalez said. "He could have probably signed somewhere to have an everyday shortstop job. We feel that of the 30 games or so that we had with him here that he could back up the position at the very least. It was a great signing to have him come back."
Fish to seek second opinion on sore elbow
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Braves lost Arodys Vizcaino to an elbow injury already and may have another pitcher headed in that direction.
Left-hander Robert Fish saw the team doctor recently to get an opinion on his sore elbow. He is scheduled to see Dr. James Andrews next week to get a second opinion on his elbow. He has not pitched since March 13 against the Marlins.
While Fish's elbow injury is concerning, the Braves have received some good news on Tim Hudson. The right-hander, who is recovering from back surgery, was scheduled to throw a live batting-practice session Tuesday at the Braves' facility in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
If Hudson continues to progress, he will be on schedule to throw in the Braves' final Grapefruit League game on April 2 against the Mets.
Hudson's start is pending his progress, but manager Fredi Gonzalez was able to name the team's rotation for the next few days.
Right-hander Brandon Beachy will start against the Yankees on Wednesday while Mike Minor will take the ball on Thursday against the Nationals.
The Braves will play a split-squad series against the Astros on Friday, with Randall Delgado starting the home game and Jair Jurrjens starting on the road. Tommy Hanson will round out the next five starters when he takes the ball on Saturday against the Tigers.
Freeman finding his groove at right time
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- If Freddie Freeman had his way, the regular season would start tomorrow.
The Braves' first baseman is on a tear of late. On Tuesday, he went 2-for-2 with a pair of homers. It was the second straight day that Freeman blasted two home runs.
"I've felt pretty good the last week," Freeman said. "My swing is back to where I want it to be. I'm able to stay inside balls and get some backspin."
Freeman was sidelined for a few days earlier this spring due to a knee injury, but the 22-year-old appears to be on track to start the regular season on a roll.
"When you start pushing closer to the season, that's when you start to hopefully get into the groove," Freeman said. "In the last week, I've been able to hit some balls up the middle and to left field."
David Villavicencio is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.